Receptive Language Delay or Disorder?

by Maryam
(Windsor Mill, Maryland, United States)

With The Name of The One True God, The All Merciful, The Most Merciful,

Hello, I truly appreciate you taking the time to respond to my questions. I have a 35 month old son who appears to have a receptive speech delay. He is very social and talks a lot on the level that he communicates. He can count to four. His vocabulary is about the standard for his age. He speaks in single words, two words and 3-4 word sentences. I do understand him most of the time. Strangers understand most of what he says.

My son enjoys reading and has a good attention span for sit-down activities, but it still takes longer for him to memorize and then verbalize what he has learned. In all other areas of development my son is pretty much at the standard level, thanks to God.

My son's speech/language development has always seemed spotty (meaning he reaches the developmental milestone for some areas of speech/language at his age but not others), although, thanks to God, he has continued to progress.

When I look at the speech and language developmental charts on this site, he has reached some of the targets for his age level (35 months), but not all of them.

For example, he answers yes or no questions, uses some prepositions, differentiates between man and woman, understands some pronouns, plurals and action words, understand "not" and understands what his name is but he doesn't state his first name (consistently) and last name.

He sometimes uses "ing" and plural endings; and asks and answers who and what questions but not where questions (although, if asked, he will show you where the object is) but is unable to say it. Another issue my son has, is it took him longer to imitate 3 or 4 word sentences without blending the words together although now he is able to imitate without blending, most of the time.

It is taking him longer to memorize the whole alphabet and short rhymes, he memorizes part of it but not all of it. He understands the concept of colors and numbers but again it is taking him longer to memorize them.

Some of the signs of a language disorder that stood out to me on your website that my son appears to have are these:

With language disorders, speech and language do not develop normally. The child may have some language skills, but not others. Or the way the skills develop is different than usual.

He has a little echolalia

Very rarely, when he speaks fast he uses jargon.

Understanding questions is difficult (Example: Can't answer questions like where, when, why)

Spoken language is simpler than their peers

Limited vocabulary

Has difficulty remembering words

Slower to answer questions

Slower to put thoughts together to express their ideas

He does not say these:

Says "WHERE?"

Asks "WHY?"

Says "big", "little"

Understands "WHY?" questions

Does this appear to be only a receptive speech delay? Is this considered a delay or a disability? Does this appear to be a minor, moderate or severe delay/disability? Is it possible for a child with speech like my son to overcome this problem?

Is it possible for a child with speech like my son, to "grow out" of this problem? What are the main tips to focus on with a child who has a receptive delay such as this? If someone can share a similar experience with a child, it would be greatly appreciated.

Any suggestions on resources or books to help my son would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you again,

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Aug 11, 2016
Follow Up
by: UWH

Hi Maryam Sister

Since it has been more than 18 months from the last post I just wanted to follow up how your son is doing now ?

We are more or less in similar shoes so will appreciate some Guidance here.

I can be reached on

Oct 05, 2014
Thank you
by: Maryam

With The Name of The One True God, The All Mercifull, The Most Merciful
I appreciatie your help.

Sep 26, 2014
Receptive Language Delay or disorder
by: Rosario

Although your explanations of your son's abilities are great, it is very difficult to diagnose a language disorder without seeing the child and knowing more of his background.

My recommendation to you is to seek a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)in your area and have him evaluated. Many times the public school systems in the states have free evaluation services for children who have not yet entered school.

If not, you can take him to a private SLP in a hospital or clinic setting. Having him evaluated for his Speech-Language skills may put you at ease about your concerns as he may turn out to be developing adequately.

However, if a language disorder is diagnosed, starting him in therapy at this early age will be great for his communication skills.

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